Glimpsing God’s Glory in Grocery Stores and Garbage

I’m not even going to pretend that my life is glamorous. If you have read any of my previous posts or know me at all, you already know that. I’m not complaining about my “not glamorous life”, mind you. I suspect that glamour isn’t all that. I imagine it is more hype and spin than anything else. Hmmm, this sounds a bit more negative than I intended. Let me try this again.

My days are a series of seemingly simple, relatively normal moments punctuated periodically with the complexity and beauty of relationships, adventure, love, disappointment, joy, intention, confusion and enlightenment. Twisted together these multiple threads are transformed into a rich, colorful, strong strand that is my life that is then woven together with the unique yarn of others’ lives into God’s grand tapestry.

I suppose one can choose to see one’s life from either vantage point: a series of moments or part of a larger, more beautiful picture. I would love to say that I am the kind of person who always sees the big picture, but alas…sometimes I am slow to come to this perspective. Yesterday evening is a perfect example of this.

Sunday 7:30 pm. The evening before me held little hope of adventure–just a series of mundane duties I needed to complete so that the week would proceed more smoothly: laundry, garbage collected and put in can out front, quick run to the grocery store to get staples of cereal, milk and bread….

Driving down Mathis Ferry Road to the nearest grocery store, I looked around me and saw a hint of red in the sky between the low hanging branches that arched over the road. I realized that the sun was setting and, miraculously, my camera was in the seat behind me. I was actually going to be able to get a few shots before it was too dark. I continued past the turn to the grocery store and quickly headed toward the waterfront park along the Cooper River.

Putting off the mundane, I forged ahead into adventure!

Getting closer to the waterfront away from the alley of oaks, the vista opened up before me–all water and marsh grass and painted sky. The Ravenel Bridge arched across the Cooper River, its cables gleaming white against the red-orange sky. The lights on the bridge were just beginning to glow.

Sunday sunset bridge

Grabbing my camera I raced the sun as I headed toward the visitors’ center and the pier praying enough light would remain to capture the magic of this moment.

On the pier the wind picked up and cooled the air. Couples and families strolled along stopping to take photos or to look out into the harbor with its twinkling lights.

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The lights along the boardwalk were so bright that it seemed early but minute-by-minute, the sky beyond the pier turned purple then indigo then black.

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I sat for a moment in one of the swings to enjoy the coolness and the quiet.

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Heading back the breeze stopped abruptly as I stepped off the boardwalk. I wandered through the war memorial and along the landscaped path beside the salt marsh to the parking lot transitioning myself slowly back into the world of Sunday evenings, grocery stores and garbage.

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Sitting in the cool of my air-conditioned car, I flipped through the images I had just taken smiling at some and wishing I had been more patient (and still) with others. I was satisfied. I had captured in some of these photos that moment of beauty of which I was a part.

I laughed to myself when I realized that this amazing moment was, in reality, quite mundane. The sun sets every evening. Yet there is remarkable, astounding beauty in this ordinary, everyday event. God not only allows beauty in the mundane, I imagine He revels in it. He created it to be that way!

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Driving back toward the grocery store I wondered, Will I remember this next Sunday evening when I am gathering garbage, folding laundry and running to the grocery store? Will I have the courage to see through the mundane to glimpse His glory?

Photos by Amy Watson Smith, September 2013